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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Threat

Narrator: Pete Cross

ISBN: 9781666654110

Publisher: Dreamscape Media

Keylight Books

Publication Date: 01/16/2024

Format: Audiobook

My Rating: 3 Stars (ARC)

Melvin Levin is a middle-aged man who is dissatisfied with his dull and mediocre life. That is, he was until he received a mysterious death threat in the mail. Terrified at first, Levin soon becomes accustomed to the threat—and then, increasingly, delighted with it, thrilled with his newfound importance as a “threatened man.” But as his obsession with maintaining this identity becomes all-consuming, he risks blinding himself to the twin dangers of the threat itself and—perhaps worse—his own deranged mind.

At once absurdist, moving, and savagely funny, The Threat is a timeless parable of the comic lengths to which people go to protect the delusions that validate them.

My Review

New Yorker contributing humor writer Stein delivers his debut, THE THREAT —a darkly funny comic tale of a man’s unraveling after he receives an unprovoked death threat.

Melvin Levin, 41, is bored with this life. Lives alone. Regarding his career, he has awaited a promotion to an office job that never comes.

Then, he receives an anonymously written letter with hilarious misspellings and mixed metaphors. A death threat!

Instead of worrying him, he finds himself with a new confidence and energy that someone has paid attention to him, worthy of threatening.

Then Levin receives photographs proving he is being watched. Then he grows impatient, waiting for the threatener to act and reveal himself/herself.

Who is the threatener? He may find the type of person he had envisioned is not what he thought. He is disappointed. Could he get a final request?

Does he think being murdered is better than his current existence? No promotion. But what if there is not a threat, then what?

THE THREAT is a strange, quirky satire about a man's neurotic man, sad life and insightful yet witty look into human nature. It is a parable with sarcastic humor of the comic lengths that people go to protect the delusions that validate.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Pete Cross, who was well-suited for the storyline and character. THE THREAT is for those who enjoyed Freida McFadden's The Coworker, Lou Berney's Dark Ride, and books by authors Dan Chaon, Terry Pratchett, and Fredrik Backman.

Thanks to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for an advanced listening audio copy in exchange for my honest feedback.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Jan 16, 2024

My Rating: 3 Stars


“A comic masterpiece.”

—Andy Borowitz, New York Times-bestselling author of Profiles in Ignorance

“I savored every word of Nathaniel Stein’s hilarious, expertly crafted, giddily uncompromising debut novel. The Threat is full of pathos—loneliness, alienation, existential horror. But Stein is such a deft comedic stylist that all I experienced while reading it was joy. It's a fantastic book and I hope he writes a million more.”

—Simon Rich, Thurber Prize-winning author of New Teeth

"Nathaniel Stein has written a comic novel unlike anything that we have on hand recently: a small-scale exquisitist portrait of an improbable existence that has elements of both Kafka and Bruce Jay Friedman, and manages to be both appealingly absurd and strangely touching. A genuinely original book."

—Adam Gopnik, New York Times-bestselling author of Paris to the Moon

"The Threat is a brilliant tour through one guy’s self-obsession as he desperately tries to stay alive while also deciding why and if he really wants to—a darkly hilarious mystery about a man who finally comes to life when someone threatens to kill him. A genuinely funny novel—the kind we need more of!" —Steve Hely, Thurber Prize-winning author of How I Became a Famous Novelist

“The Threat [is] absurd, hilarious, and quite touching. It’s my favorite book of the summer.”

—Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic and former Editor-in-Chief of Wired

"New Yorker contributing humor writer Stein debuts with a darkly funny tale of a man’s unraveling after he receives an unprovoked death threat… Stein’s diverting story of self-aggrandizement is worth a look. —Publishers Weekly

"This debut is an enjoyable, easy recommendation to readers looking for a humorous escape.… An excellent addition to displays of quick, engaging reads. Fans of Less by Andrew Sean Greer will enjoy Stein's tongue-in-cheek writing style.”

—Library Journal

About the Author

NATHANIEL STEIN has written humor and nonfiction for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Daily Beast, among other publications. He lives in Los Angeles where he works as a television writer. This is his first novel.

WRITER, PRODUCER: Nathaniel Stein is known for Angie Tribeca (2016), Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000) and The League (2009).







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